Binge TV Review: "Santa Clarita Diet, Season 3" (Netflix Original, 2019)
Is it hyperbole to say one of the 5 best shows on ANY streaming service or major network right now? Nope. It absolutely is not. And while I know that is one hell of a way to lead off a review, you really should take my word for it. I do what I do not for the money (the pay is non-existent) or for the fame (I’m just a dude who loves to hear his own voice); I do it because I genuinely love to see people get the goods. I’m an entertainment nerd, after all.
Picking up where the madness of Season 2 left off, Sheila and Joel Hammond (Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant) are safe again after nearly having to disappear. Their daughter, Abby (Liv Hewson), and her should-be boyfriend next door, Eric (Skyler Gisondo), grow closer in the madness of Sheila’s undeath. The Serbians come front and center this season as an ancient organization known as the Knights of Serbia are hunting undead in Santa Clarita. Turning people to save them and help them live forever is now a thing of issue. Sheila and Joel are forced to look deeper at what "‘til death do us part” really means. Is Joel ready for that commitment? Can they keep their cover? Do ears really taste like onion rings?
I was so impressed with the leap from Season 1 to Season 2 that I shouldn’t be blown away by just how damn good Season 3 is, but we tore through it in less than 1 full evening (again). The chemistry in this cast is THE textbook definition of the power of that connection. It’s unreal!
As a lifelong Kevin Smith and John Hughes devotee, I’m a sucker for witty banter and quick comedy. That’s the name of the game on Santa Clarita Diet. The situations are still as wacky as every- cop neighbor, Anne (Natalie Morales; Parks and Recreation) worships Sheila as a gift from God, much more is learned about Mr. Ball Legs (the spider vomited up by the undead), Gary the Talking Head now works for Hammond Realty, and there are geriatric undead! It’s a thing of beauty, and and not one damn bit of the sarcasm or outlandishness is wasted…just like eating every bit of the body.
The surprise continues to be the heart in the show. Sheila and Joel, yuppie dorks that they are, really strive to be good parents. Abby is an amazing character. Her relationship with Eric is the highlight of the show for me. That’s saying something, too- Sheila and Joel literally are my wife and I, but Abby and Eric are us back in our high school days. It goes to show you that even in a crazy comedy about glorious undeath, true love is a powerful thing. The final scene this season brought a legit tear or two of human warmth to my eye. I can’t think of an on-screen relationship I’ve enjoyed this much in a long time.
The new additions to the cast are stellar, too. Ethan Suplee (Mallrats) as former sniper, Tommy, is a scene-stealer. For God’s sake, they scored the legendary Linda Lavin from the multi-time Golden Globe-winning classic sitcom, Alice. It’s a legit coup, I tell you! Jonathan Slavin (My Name is Earl) is a friggin’ riot as Ron, the criminally insane coward who just really wants to be undead. There’s not a bad note in the new cast, and (of course) the regulars are killing it.
There’s just so much to love in Santa Clarita Diet- lightning fast jokes, nutso gore, subversive humor, cubic fucktons of heart, and true love. This is the new model for what used to be sitcoms. Thank you, Netflix!